Mrs. Rosa Parks now has a permanent place in the U.S. Capitol — the first black woman to be honored with a statue there. This came more than half a century after Mrs. Parks made history as she sat defiantly on an Alabama city bus. President Barack Obama, congressional leaders and more than 50 of Mrs. Parks’ relatives took part on February 27th in the unveiling of a 9-foot bronze statue of Mrs. Parks in Statuary Hall. Her close friend and long time confidant Ms. Elaine Eason Steele participated in the actual unveiling of the statue. President Obama had this to say during his remarks:
This morning, we celebrate a seamstress slight in stature but mighty in courage. In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world.
Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. and the highest-ranking black member of Congress, called Mrs. Parks “the first lady of civil rights, the mother of the movement, the saint of an endless struggle.” Mrs. Parks is depicted sitting, hands folded across her lap, a fitting tribute to her legacy.
On December 1, 1955, Mrs. Parks, then a 42-year-old seamstress, broke the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a fully loaded bus in Montgomery. Her arrest touched off a 381-day boycott of the bus system, a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. In 1956, the Supreme Court banned segregation on public transportation. This great and courageous lady died in October 2005 at age 92. Six days later, she lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. The next month, President George W. Bush directed Congress to commission a statue of Mrs. Parks for the Capitol.
Mrs. Parks was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. The Statuary Hall honor in our nation’s capital is a permanent recognition of a person who made a lasting mark on our nation’s history. We all have benefited from Mrs. Parks’ courage, her self-less sacrifice and her willingness to stand up and fight for a most worthy cause. I agree with President Obama this lady helped change things for good in this country and I am proud to say that Rosa Parks was from Alabama.
Source: NBC News
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